7 Must-Eat Vietnam Street Food
Food, glorious food! Food has the ability to bring people and cultures together, and Vietnam street food does not disappoint. It’s fresh, fragrant and fabulous. Vietnam street food is so good, you’ll never want to step foot in a restaurant.
Selecting safe and delectable foods in foreign countries can be unnerving, so we’ve done the hard work for you! When trying to pick a street vendor, follow your instincts. Go where the crowds go. If what they sell looks and smells good, it probably is. Let’s take a look at the line up, I hope you’ve eaten, because this list is mouth-watering.
Pho – Rice Noodle Soup
No Vietnam street food adventure is complete without an authentic bowl of Pho, pronounced ‘fuh’ (duh!). This heaven-sent dish is a rice noodle soup, combining meat, bean sprouts, fresh limes, herbs, and vermicelli rice noodles. Spawned from Hanoi (the capital) at the start of the twentieth century, this Vietnamese daily staple can be found on nearly every street corner and is a must try while exploring this epic country.
Bahn Mi – Vietnamese Baguette
Crusty bread? Tick. Crunchy vegetables? Tick. Condiments? Tick. What could possibly be wrong about number two on our list? A famous Vietnamese dish, Banh Mi’s (banh mee) can now be found in restaurants around the world. Banh translates to bread, or more appropriately baguette, which was introduced to the country by the colonial French (merci beaucoup!). Known around the world to us ‘foodies’ as ‘The Vietnamese Sandwich’, Banh Mi combines local ingredients such as coriander, cucumber, pickled carrots, white radish and the French colonial influence (baguettes, pâté, jalapeño, and mayonnaise). Served as breakfast, lunch and even dinner (seriously, how can you go wrong?), Banh Mi plays an important role in the daily life of Vietnamese people. Whether you are hanging out with friends or in a rush for work, Banh Mi is always an ideal food option, with a reasonable price tag and an appetising taste.
Xoi – Vietnamese Sticky Rice
Another winner (aren’t they all?) is Xôi (zoy), a Vietnamese sticky rice that can be prepared with different accompaniments such as peanuts, coconut milk, corn or beans. This creation can be sweet or savory, and is served for all meals of the day – breakfast, lunch or dinner (this country is amazing!). The sticky rice is pickled in water overnight and gets steamed the following day so that the rice becomes sticky. In Vietnam, Xôi is served as a main dish but can be also served as side dish or dessert. Make sure to try Xoi early in the morning from a Hanoi street vendor. Xoi is eaten on all occasions. Wedding? Xoi. Death anniversary? Xoi. Full Moon? Xoi. Tet holidays? Xoi. Monday? Xoi. Tuesday? Xoi. You get the idea…
Banh Xeo – Stuffed Pancake
Banh Xeo (banh xeow) translates literally to ‘sizzling pancake’ and contains a wide variety of ingredients such as shrimp, pork, bean sprouts and egg. The Vietnamese pancake is then fried, wrapped in rice paper and greens and then finally, it’s dunked into a spicy sauce before being gobbled up. These are extremely cheap and enormous in size. Tourists traveling throughout Vietnam are sure to encounter a different recipe, and sometimes even a different name for ‘Banh Xeo’ depending on which region and province they are visiting. Why not explore the entire country on your quest for the best Banh Xeo? We’ll come with you. Aisle or window? We don’t mind…
Bun Cha – Rice Vermicelli in Pork Soup
Another Vietnamese dish that has become famous across the globe, second only to Pho or the Banh Mi, is Bun Cha (even more so after Barack Obama and Anthony Bourdain sat down in Hanoi to enjoy a Bun Cha for CNN’s No Reservations). Originally from the south, but vastly popular in the north, Bun Cha is a rice vermicelli dish with a serving of fatty pork patties and caramelized pork belly that has been grilled over charcoal. The meat pieces drown in a tangy sweet and sour fish sauce with a healthy portion of fresh Vietnamese herbs. Don’t forget to add some red chillies and minced garlic for added flavors and spice! This is an open invitation to Mr Obama to join us for Bun Cha. I’ve heard he has heaps of free time now…Oh and Michelle.
Bia Hoi – Draft Beer
Beer, Bia, Cervaza, Biere, Pijiu. However you say beer in your native tongue, it always means the same thing – the drink of the Gods. Bia Hoi is a fresh, locally brewed Vietnamese beer. It costs 2000-5000 VND (less than 25 cents – it’s in my pocket right now!) so you can imagine how popular Bia Hoi is for locals and tourist alike throughout Vietnam. The ideal spot to drink a cold Bia Hoi is a street bar or vendor where customers sit on precariously small plastic chairs on the sidewalk. Here, travellers rub shoulders with locals while watching the chaotic traffic of scooters, cyclos, street vendors and disorientated tourists desperately soaking up the action. Though some drinkers would probably disagree, Bia Hoi does not leave a pounding hangover like other types of alcohol, leaving you with ample time to explore the sights
Cafe Sua Da – Vietnamese Iced Coffee
Last but not least, no Vietnam food post would be complete without diving into double divinity – coffee and sweets! Cafe Sua Da is a delicious combination of dark roasted coffee, sweetened condensed milk, milk and ice. The condensed milk sits heavy on the bottom so that you can control the sweetness, or if you like a hit to the tastebuds with your pick-me-up in he morning, mix all of the condensed milk in. If you like it dark and dreamy, just stir up a little. This delicious brew goes with anything and at any time of day or night! Sign me up!
Well friends, you now know the line up. It’s time to collect your fellow foodie friends and set off for the adventure of a lifetime! Join one of our Vietnam Experiences and we’ll meet you for a beer at a street bar.